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Owing to supplies failing their followers are exhausted. The paper money is valueless, and the frequent desertions of their peasant troops are demoralising the army. There are constant dissensions between the Soviets in Petrograd and Moscow and those in the provinces.
The peasants refuse to bring food stocks into the towns, and are hiding their food. Official reports from Vladivostock state that most of the commanding officers in the Red army are Germans, who are introducing German methods.
The Red Commissaries are mostly Jews. In order to prevent desertion the officers are constantly watched, and their families are held as hostages. Well-to-do families live in constant fear of death.
The Australian Press Association learns that the latest official news from Russia reveals extraordinary demoralisation and appalling outrages to be general. The British Consul at Ekaterinburg, as a result of a special inquiry in the Perm district (the Urals), reports that the number of victims amounts to several thousand, most of whom were shot, though tortures usually preceded the murders.
A girl aged 19, accused of espionage, was slowly pierced with a bayonet 13 times in the same wound, and she is still alive. In other cases victims were wounded with the bayonet 15 or 20 times. Forty-six priests out of the 300 in the Perm district have been killed.
Sixty-six children, taken as hostages, were mowed down by machine guns. In some cases the Bolshevists took ransoms from the relatives after the victims had been secretly killed.
News from Russia shows that the Red Commissaries are mostly ill-educated, and condemn people to death without making any accusation, while frequently they themselves assist in the murder of their victims.
Woman school inspector
It was indicated some time ago that the Minister of Education proposed to appoint a woman inspector of schools. It has now been decided (says the Wellington Post) to call for applications for two such inspectors.
The Women Teachers' Association urged that a woman inspector should not be confined to inspection on the women's side of school work, but should be in a position equivalent to that of the present male inspectors. At the time the Minister did not appear inclined to favour this suggestion, at any rate until the innovation had been tried.
There is no indication yet of the terms on which the appointees will take up their duties. Another position for women under the Education Department is the inspection of child welfare.
The lady appointed to this position (for which applications have now closed) will not be an inspector of schools; but, as indicated in the title, will devote her attention to movements which consider the welfare of the child in its broadest aspect.
The town clerk of Waitara informed the council at its meeting last week that there were no funds, and the payment of the month's accounts would have to be held over; there were some heavy interest payments coming due, he added.
- ODT, 19.3.1919.
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